WITH a bridge of 120 metres over the CN level crossing on Hwy16 between Terrace and Prince Rupert and a realignment of 1.9 kilometres of the highway, a $37 million project to start construction next year is to be one of the largest highway projects in this area in years.
First announced last July in the run up to the start of the federal election campaign, the project is set to go out to tender by the end of this year with a contractor chosen in early 2017, provincial transportation minister Todd Stone said last week while touring the area.
“This will eliminate the last level crossing between Prince Rupert and the Alberta border,” said Stone.
Plans call for blasting and removal of 300,000 cubic metres of rock and material to create the room for the new section of road.
Traffic will be able to maintain the highway speed of 100km/h as opposed to the 40km/h to negotiate the current ‘S’ curve at the location which is approximately 45 kilometres from Terrace.
The project team has completed geotechnical investigations as well as some initial clearing and site preparation work.
The project is being cost shared with the federal government providing up to $17.525 million and the province the remaining $19.475 million.
There is no financial contribution from CN.
which is considered to be the senior player as its rail line was constructed first. It also receives no benefit from the project.
Based on a start of next spring, completion is expected in the summer of 2019.
Here are some of the essential elements of the project:
* building into the Skeena River was rejected because of salmon habitat.
* the project also includes wider driving lanes and shoulders, and extensive rock bolting to minimize rock fall hazards in order to improve safety for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
* the design avoids rare mature and old growth forests, and minimizes impacts to mountain goat wintering and kidding areas, moose winter range habitat, and nesting bird zones near the construction site.
* two culverts will be placed to increase access to rearing and refuge habitat for juvenile fish.
* when construction is completed, the current ‘S’ curve alignment will be decommissioned and replanted to restore normal riverside vegetation along the Skeena River.
* A traffic management plan has been tailored regarding the availability of the nearby Andesite Creek boat launch during blasting and pile driving activities.
* Rock and other material removed to provide room for the new section of highway and not used for the project itself will be stockpiled at a nearby location and will be used for erosion control elsewhere or for future highway projects.